Nutrition and Cognitive Health Essay

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The term ‘cognitive health’ is often associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, depression, etc. While an overwhelming body of research and evidence support that cognitive disorders are likely to be influenced by genetic predispositions and environmental factors, there has also been a great deal of research conducted in effort to explore the relationship between nutritional status and cognitive health. It has been found that many aspects of cognitive health are not only impacted, but also dependent upon certain nutrients which must be obtained through the diet. Through each stage of the lifecycle, nutritional status plays a key role in brain development, cognitive function and health, mood, and even the prevention of certain neurological and cognitive conditions. The influence that nutritional status has on cognitive health begins with conception.
Beginning in the womb, nutrients obtained through the diet, in this case of the mother, begin playing a key role in the development of the brain and nervous system. A woman’s poor nutritional status before the time of conception can have detrimental effects on physical and cognitive development (Whitney & Rolfes, 2013, p. 486). It is clear that from the beginning of the lifespan nutrition plays a vital role and cognitive health and development. While nutrition is known to play a role in cognitive health, the question of just which nutrients and in what quantities will require many more years of research as new information is being discovered. There is a growing concern over the quality of ‘natural’ sources, such as breast milk and whole foods, as opposed to synthetic sources, such as infant formula and vitamin supplements. There has been much debate as to whether or ...

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... in effort to support optimal cognitive health and prevent the early onset of cognitive decline in the aging process.

Bryan, J., Osendarp, S., Hughes, D., Calvaresi, E., Baghurst, K., & Van Klinken, J. (2004). Nutrients for Cognitive Development in School-aged Children. Nutrition Reviews, 62(8), 295-306. doi:10.1301/nr.2004.aug.295-306
Dunne, A. (2012). Food and mood: evidence for diet-related changes in mental health. British Journal of Community Nursing, S20-S24.
Kamphuis, P. H., & Scheltens, P. (2010). Can nutrients prevent or delay onset of alzheimer's disease?. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 20(3), 765-775. doi:10.3233/JAD-2010-091558
Turner, J. (2011). Your brain on food: A nutrient-rich diet can protect cognitive health. Generations, 35(2), 99-106.
Whitney, E. & Rolfes, S. E. (2013). Understanding Nutrition (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth

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